Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Lost Hunter Ate Bugs, Slept with Rats to Survive

A hunter from Eagle who went missing last week says he went into "survival mode" to stay alive for more than 36 hours in the Boise County wilderness.

Arlen Dowdy, 59, was hunting in the Mores Creek Summit area with his father-in-law last Tuesday when they split up while tracking some deer.

"The next thing you know I'm 200 feet into the woods and then have a seizure and I'm two to three miles into the woods," said Dowdy.

Dowdy told KTVB he doesn't remember exactly how he got so off course. The experienced hunter had left the survival kit he usually wears around his waist back at camp because it was bothering him earlier in the day.

The Navy veteran was lost, but had two guns with him. He used one to shoot off a few rounds, but got no response from his father-in-law. He realized he was much farther away than he originally thought.

"I immediately went into survival mode," he said.

Dowdy was already thirsty, so he started searching for water. He found a small creek to drink from. Later in the day, he saw a quail.

"I had seen it and I thought I better shoot that and it's a good thing because it was warm...I put it inside my shirt and the warmth of it was incredible," said Dowdy.

The experienced hunter knew he needed shelter, but maneuvering through the woods was difficult.

Dowdy wears a prosthetic after losing his left leg in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago.

"My prosthetic kept sinking way down in the marsh," he said. "I finally was able to get out onto drier land and get around it, go around it."

Eventually, he came across a mine shaft and hunkered down. Dowdy says he covered himself with a piece of carpet he found. He also wrapped himself in plastic.

"There was about 15 or 30 or so pack rats in the shed so I slept with them," added Dowdy.

Sleeping with rats crawling on top of him wasn't pleasant, but Dowdy was determined to stay warm. He was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Temperatures dipped into the 30s overnight.

In addition to the rats, Dowdy says a bear also approached him during his first night in the woods. He says he was prepared to shoot it, but it left him alone and never came back.

On Wednesday, Dowdy ate insects and eventually, the raw quail he had shot. He had no luck starting a fire.